Thursday, May 30, 2013

Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with Diigo--Part 3

Close reading is a strategy for reading complex text. In Part 1, the focus is how to do a close reading. The focus in Part 2 is how to annotate with iPads. The focal points of this post are the teacher steps in close reading; how to create text dependent questions for informational text in 6th-12th grades; annotating in Diigo; and creating writing activities to go with close reading.

Click here to download as PDF
Below are the teacher's steps for creating a close reading lesson. However, the student steps are in the poster shown on the right:

Teacher Step 1: Choose the text

Choose a short and difficult text to do a close reading on. It should be at the frustration reading level.

Some examples to choose from for informational text are short speeches (or excerpts from a speech); research; paragraphs or chapters from biographies, memoirs, or historical accounts to name a few.

Teacher Step 2: Planning

Plan and do what you expect your students to do.
  • Decide if they will annotate on a paper copy, with sticky notes, or digitally.
  • Read and annotate the text. 
  • Look for a few key tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary words to model or tell while modeling the thought process with annotation (or for scaffolding purposes).
  • Decide what student task, prompt, or protocol to use for writing and discussion during the process.
  • Create text dependent questions.
  • Consider what will challenge the students and what scaffolding to put in place.

Teacher Step 3: Students first read of text

When it's time for students to read the text, the teacher should:
  • Quickly provide a purpose for reading the text.
  • Teach/remind students how to annotate the text. 
  • If students are annotating digitally, then remind them how to use the digital tool and applicable technology procedures.
  • Allow the students to read it on their own.
  • Do not teach a mini-lesson prior to reading the text to connect background knowledge or information. Otherwise, the students might not need to read the text or will answer questions based on what the teacher said and not what's in the text.

Teacher Step 4: Quick write and discussion

Set the expectations for the writing assignment. It can be an informal task such as, "Write your impressions about the text and any lingering questions you have." It can also be an actual activity or focused question such as: 
  • SOAPSTone -- this can be used as a pre-writing activity or as a reading response prompt to get students to focus on certain aspects of the text such as the Speaker/author, Occasion/time period/context, Audience, Purpose, Subject/main idea, and Tone.
  • Be a detective and look for assumptions (explicit and implicit) behind the arguments.
  • Read like a historian and look for answers to these questions: Who wrote this? When was it written? What else do I need to know to make a considered and valued judgment? What is the author's point of view? Why was it written? Is this source believable? Why? Why not?
  • Claims and Evidence -- Look for the claims and evidence to support the claims.
  • Logical (logos), Ethical (ethos), and Emotional (pathos) -- When the writing is persuasive, look for logical, ethical, and emotional arguments/techniques in the text.

Teacher Step 5: Read text aloud to students (second reading)

Model the reading for the students. This gives the students the proper pronunciation of text and helps them think about the meaning again. The students will follow along and add to their annotations.

Teacher Step 6: Read text aloud to students while annotating (third reading)
Click here to download 6th-8th & 9th-12th PDF

Model all the thinking involved in reading the text.

Circle the powerful words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs (instead of circling one word at a time).

Underline tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary words, especially the ones they struggled with during their first reading. For tier 2 words, model the strategies for figuring out the meaning such as context clues or affixes/roots. For tier 3 words, give the definition of what it means.

Underline any parts that are confusing as well.

If this is new for your students, start with just the first three, then add the next one a week or two later.

If students are annotating digitally, it's possible that the tool does not have all of the annotation marks. Therefore, collaboratively create a key with some substitutions. For example, using the colors on the poster above, highlight powerful words in blue instead of circling; and highlight the confusing words/parts in green instead of underlining.

Students will continue to add to their own annotations during this reading.

Annotating in Diigo

Bookmark the online text, such as Vampires Prey on Panama, in Diigo. Then annotate and share the annotated version with collaborating students and the teacher. Here's directions how:

Click here for suggestions on how to annotate with an iPad.

Teacher Step 7: Text dependent questions

A text dependent question is a question that requires reading/rereading the text the students are currently using.

Below are the types of questions with examples from our sample text: Vampires Prey on Panama.
Click here to download as PDF (or to enlarge).

Teacher Step 8: Writing task

Writing tasks built into the reading are an important part of the routine. They can be written for specific audiences on a student or class blog, or they can be written from various prompts such as:
  • RAFTS: Role--What role or point of view will you write from?; Audience--To whom are you writing to? Who is your intended audience?; Format--In what format are you writing? A letter? Blogpost? Digital story / Drama / Script? A speech? A digital recording? A comic? etc.; Topic--What topic are you writing about? Why? What point will you be making?
  • CERCA: Make a Claim about the text. Support your claim with Evidence. Explain your Reasoning. What Counterclaims need to be presented? What is the intended Audience?
  • I-C-A-N-S: This is a spin-off of Silvia Tolisano's 21st century KWL and modified to do after reading. What new Information did you learn? How are the new ideas / information Connected to what you already knew? What Action will you take as a result of the reading, or how have the new ideas challenged your thinking? What New questions do you have? How could you Search for answers to your new questions?

Resources and attribution

Several resources were used to create this post such as the work of Fisher and Frey; much of the training I received from Arizona's Department of Education is represented here; and the text example and text dependent questions used in the poster were chosen by and created by my dynamic colleague, Theresa Bartholomew.

Not every lesson on the Internet is a quality lesson. However, here are a few starting points that I go to for finding close reading lessons:

Final thoughts

Creating close reading lessons are time consuming up front, but the end result is deeper understanding of the text, which means less reteaching in the end. It also allows the students to learn and exercise strategies which will strengthen their reading, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and writing skills.
  • What tips or insights can you share about creating close reading lessons or text dependent questions?
  • What tips, insights, or resources can you share about annotating in Diigo?
  • Where do you go to find quality close reading lessons or text dependent questions?
  • How else does this post connect with you? What questions or thoughts do you have about the topic?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Connecting 21st Century Learning, Technology, and Common Core Standards

21st century learning and technology integration are part of the Common Core design. 21st century skills include:
CC by 3.0 Tracy Watanabe
  • communication and collaboration
  • creative thinking and innovation
  • curation: research and informational fluency
  • critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  • digital citizenship
  • computing skills: using technology to learn, communicate, consume, contribute, design, and produce

In the introduction of the Common Core, those skills are referenced, and specifically outlined as a key design consideration, and placed in a portrait of a student who is college and career ready.

They are also interwoven in the anchor standards, which can be viewed by specific grade levels.
Academic conversations

Academic conversations are part of 21st century learning and the Common Core Standards. Constructivism in learning, building meaning based on prior understanding, occurs in academic conversations (speaking and listening face-to-face and digitally, as well as in writing).

Academic conversations are no longer coming just from the teacher; they are taking place face-to-face and digitally with peers and others. Some digital examples are G+ hangouts, Skyping, webinars, etc.

I recently listened to a Schools Moving Up webinar by Nancy Frey called Collaborative Conversations: Speaking and Listening in Secondary Classrooms. Some of the highlights of that webinar were:
  • Speaking and listening is no longer coming only from the front of the classroom. It comes in many forms face-to-face and digitally. Some digital examples are digital storytelling, webinars, video, and many other multimedia.
  • Great speaking and listening skills are closely linked to writing.
  • Three types of writing in the Common Core are: arguments, informational, and narratives. Blogging can help with all three of those.
  • Speaking and listening is connected to the content! They will be better writers if they are better speakers.
  • Accountable talk digs deeper and has sentence stems to help with getting those deep academic conversations (see University of Pittsburgh for more information about this).
  • Sentence frames can help set up those conversations.
  • Discussions can be fostered by the text-dependent questions (about a speech!)
  • Close reading: Reading, rereading text and diving deeper includes critical thinking, and speaking and listening. Vocabulary and word choice would be a rich discussion for this (especially when looking at a speech).
  • The webinar has great close reading and text dependent question connections and examples. Text dependent questions are not always "right there" answers, because sometimes it's inferred and requires critical thinking to deduce.
  • Voki, Voicethread, Glogster, Audioboo, Goanimate, and all the digital storytelling apps and sites would be great ways to bring in speaking and listening with technology.

Technology enhances the learning
Mr. Lockwood's Class Mystery Skyping with Mr. Avery's Class

Technology allows students to learn from outside the classroom, bring experts and peers in to learn new ideas and receive feedback on their learning. It also allows students to publish content and have academic conversations that couldn't exist due to time restrictions or proximity limitations. Technology allows students to learn and make connections beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Final thoughts

The shifts that need to occur in 21st century learning are the same shifts that need to take place to implement Common Core Standards. The bottom line is, it's just good teaching and learning.
  • What relationship do you see with 21st century learning, technology, and the Common Core?
  • How are you implementing the Common Core or 21st century learning in your classroom? How does technology enhance that?
  • What connections have you made or questions do you have about 21st century learning, technology, and the Common Core?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with iPads--Part 2

In Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with Tech--Part 1, the focus was how to do a close reading. In Part 2, the focus is how to annotate with iPads, and insights gained from a lesson done with students in first through third grades.

iPad apps for annotating

Many apps can be used for annotating. I'm listing a few apps that can be used for close reading, and will go into detail on the one I've used the most with students.

AppTutorial LinksLearnabilityCost
PaperPort Notes
PaperPort Notes Tutorial
Tips listed below
Educreations Tutorial
Tips listed below
Notability YouTube TutorialMedium$1.99
Skitch with Evernote
Skitch for iPad tutorial by the EdubloggerMediumFree

Lessons learned through annotating in Educreations

On the first day of close reading, it was easy to use Educreations to annotate. For each new page, we'd add a new page to the presentation. We took screen shots to keep a "hard copy" of their written reflections. However, on day 2, we realized that importing those photos to continue annotating did not keep the flow and momentum we had the first day.

If the purpose is to capture their thought process real time, then Educreations is perfect as a screen cast. If the purpose is to continue to annotate the same text multiple times, then I'd use one of the other apps.

Here is an example of the third reading of the text in a second grade classroom, where the students listen and add notes to their own annotations while I am modeling my annotating the poem, The Dumb Soldier:

Click here to view my full lesson.

Introducing students to Paperport Notes

The first time I introduced the Paperport Notes app to Mrs. Rivera's Second Graders, I gave them "free exploration" time. I let them know I wasn't going to help them for five minutes, but I wanted them to try to figure out how to use the app. In that short time, they figured out many of the features, and piqued their curiosity.

What they needed guidance with was using the speech to text and the image to text (which converts typed text from an image to typing on a note). The first time image to text is used, it asks for registration, so they registered it to their teacher.

Annotating with PaperPort Notes

The main procedure we learned was to name it with the student's name and the title of the story they were annotating. They liked taking photos from their books to insert into the app, but had to remember to insert a new blank page first before inserting a new photo (otherwise it erased what was on their page).

To set up email on the iPad, I recommend creating a gmail account for your class to use on your iPads.

Note: PaperPort Notes works well with My Big Campus.

Students create their own mini Digital Story of the poem

I asked students to create a digital story of the journey of the toy soldier, and share their tale and emotions about the “fairy things” they encountered in their grassy forest. In 15 minutes, here were a few examples from first grade using the ShowMe App:

I wonder what products they would create if I had given them more time to work on a storyboard first... Regardless, I love how they all took facts from the story to create their own, with a problem and solution.

Annotating on a desktop computer

While this post focused on annotating with iPads, I must mention my favorite desktop/laptop computer site for older students to annotate text online is Diigo. Students can highlight, place sticky notes, comments, and share those annotations with others. The collaboration through Diigo is powerful.

Final thoughts

I had the privilege of close reading with this poem in different classrooms. The experience was a little different each time depending on the needs of the students.

In first grade, we spent more time talking about the structure of the poem and rhyming words because that was where they were at. In second grade, we spent much of our time trying to figure out if it was a real soldier or a toy, and why it was titled The Dumb Soldier. In third grade, most of our focus was on whether he hid the toy or lost it, and why he didn't mind hiding it during spring.

I am thankful that AJUSD teachers Gina Fraher, Rhonda Best, Megan Rivera, and Jamie Del Rosa allowed me to experience this in their classrooms, and I thank them for jumping in with me and giving it a try with their reading groups.

  • What apps or desktop sites would you have students use to annotate text?
  • What questions do you still have, or ah-ha's do you want to share?